Wednesday 11th May is a date I shall never forget, it was the day that around 4000 disabled people descended on London and told the Government exactly what they thought of them. We left Stockport at 7am and made good time to North London arriving around 11am, then we hit the traffic it was almost an hour later that we arrived at Embankment Gardens to join up with the other Mind marchers.
We were given out T shirts, bright blue! I NEVER wear blue! But for today, it matters not what I think, so blue it was. (Note to National Mind, T shirts should be black!) . Armed with our placards, the making of which kept us amused for part of the journey, as you can see there was a hiccup or two!
- If at first……
So we raised our placards, clapped our clappers and set off to the rally point. For some reason we were shepherded to the front of the march rather than being given time to hear the rally, but that was a mere detail, we were ready to go. The march started, after about ten minutes I was pulled from the march for an interview with Scope, a segment of which has been included in their great film of the day http://youtu.be/3LPqXauvrg0 . This meant that I had to run back through the march to the front to rejoin my comrades. Just in time for the last 200 or so yards. One of the highlights of the march was people on the top of sightseeing buses shouting with and cheering us, we responded by applauding them.
We were led to the Methodist Central Hall where we chilled, eat lunch and chatted with other people representing Mind from as far afield as Edinburgh and Somerset. All too soon we had to head off for Parliament to lobby our MP, Pat, one of our service users, came with me as we share the same MP Mark Hunter Lib Dem for Cheadle. We had written to him with our concerns and he appeared to be sympathetic to our cause… up to a point. He has promised us written answers to all our questions, so we will see. Ian Duncan Smith came to sit at the other end of the table but appeared to upset his lobbiers very quickly, no surprise there! We talked to Mark for half an hour, which made our hour long wait to get in worthwhile. Mark also promised that he and Andrew Stunell would come and talk to us at Mind. Pat was exceptionally pleased to have been to Parliament for the first time, she said that it made her feel worthwhile in stark contrast to the way she is usually made to feel. I have to say the look on her face as we stood in the lobby was the highlight of my day.
Once we had finished lobbying we rejoined our group and found our bus. We arrived back at Mind at around 10.30pm tired but happy.
PS The media seemed to be swarming the march, but apart from the Guardian the coverage in the newspapers was pathetic, we have to work on raising the profile of the disabled in the media.
More pics of the day